By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
After Western Mass. got an early February snow storm, the young men and coaching staff of Minnechaug had a road game on Tuesday. They trekked from Wilbraham to East Longmeadow to play against the Spartans of East Longmeadow HS.
The standouts for each school - Matt DeVine for Minnechaug and Ray J. Carter for East Longmeadow - had good games. Carter, son of former High School of Commerce Guard Ray Carter, played well. His father attended the game and could be heard imploring his son for “more energy”. DeVine got off to a slow start but picked up the production in the second half. However, his or his teammates efforts weren’t enough to get by a tough and persistent Spartans team.
Neither Carter or DeVine lead their team in scoring on Tuesday despite both of them having good outings.
Minnechaug Junior Mike Pelletier scored a game-high 18 points. Similar to his teammate DeVine, Pelletier started slow but found his rhythm in the second quarter and it lasted throughout the game.
East Longmeadow was led in scoring by Senior Anthony Guimares. He scored 16 points.
(An official holds his hand-activated whistle.)
To open the game, East Longmeadow got out to a 7-0 lead. That was immediately followed by a 7-0 run for Minnechaug. Both teams struggled early corralling defensive rebounds. Each team went after offensive rebounds with vigor on Tuesday. The game was tied at 13 after the 1st quarter.
The second was a back and forth battle. The lead switched between both teams throughout the 2nd. As I mentioned earlier, DeVine got off to a slow start. He only scored 2 points and didn’t get to the FT line in the 1st quarter. A series of 3 consecutive plays in the 2nd quarter got him going:
Grabbed a defensive rebound, went “coast-to-coast” and scored on a contested layup
On the next defensive play, he blocked a layup by Carter
DeVine made a nice pass to Pelletier for a 3
DeVine can be a Division 1 player. He has to be more aggressive scoring, similar to Scott McGuire from Drury. My second thought is that he needs to play with more energy but I don’t know how wearing a mask can effect your endurance.
Before the end of 2nd quarter, Guimares was fouled on a 3-pt attempt. He had 3 FTs to shoot. The score was 25-22 Minnechaug. East Longmeadow had a chance to tie the game. 😔 Guimares only made 1 of the 3 FTs. East Longmeadow went into the half down 2.
The third quarter was tightly contested. Cam Shaw and Brady Mackechnie opened up the lead for the Spartans in the 4th. Shaw scored 11 of his 13 points in the 4th quarter. He hit 4/6 FTs down the stretch to keep the lead for East Longmeadow. Mackechnie scored 5 points in the 4th, including 1 FT later to help seal the win.
(Cam Shaw shoots 3 over 2 defenders)
Other scorers for EL:
Ray Carter - 14 points
Jack Sweeney - 6 points
Brady Mackechnie- 8 points
Erik Donaldson - 2 points
Other scores for Minn:
Matt DeVine - 16 points
Colin Leyden - 4 points
Jonis Saabye - 4 points
Emmanuel Ramirez - 3 points
Caleb White - 2 points
Chris Moreno - 2 points
Jake Thomas - 2 points
This was the first time I saw Carter play. I’ll have more an assessment on his game in the next couple of weeks. His father was a good player and they look similar on the court, in playing style.
East Longmeadow HC Brendan Abad thinks Carter can play on the next level in college. Carter was on Varsity as a Freshman. Last year, he tore his ACL. According to HC Abad, he is in great shape this year. He also told me “[Carter] is a great kid and works very hard”.
HC Abad told me the keys to victory on Tuesday was their experience and competitive spirit. He has 5 Seniors this season who lead the charge in exhibiting the competitiveness Western Mass. HS basketball is known for. “The shots weren’t falling” for East Longmeadow early but this team knows and “trusts” each other. They “weathered the storm 🌨”, stuck together and got to the end with a team victory.
Finally, HC Abad told me it “feels great” to be back on the sideline. He is happy to be back with his young players and his coaching staff. He said playing has restored some type of “normalcy”.
Overall, a great game.
If things don’t change, FP SPORTS will be back in East Longmeadow on Friday to watch the Spartans host the Colts from Chicopee Comp.